Hasti Apni Habab Ki Si Hai - I am like a bubble (Mir Taqi Mir)

Life is like a Bubble -

I was reading Mir Taqi Mir's ghazal about life being like a bubble and remembered similar words from Guru Tegh Bahadur today.  Our time on Earth is fleeting and ephemeral, just like the fragile and temporary nature of soap bubbles. Bubbles are beautiful and captivating while they last, but they are also very fragile and can burst at any moment. Similarly, life can be filled with moments of beauty and joy, but it is also unpredictable and can end abruptly.

Just like a bubble, life can be full of vibrancy and color, reflecting the beauty and diversity of the world around us. But, like a bubble, life is also limited in its capacity and scope. Each individual life is unique and special, just like each bubble that floats in the air, but they are also fleeting and ultimately impermanent.

These poems for me are a reminder to live in the present moment and appreciate the beauty and wonder of life while it lasts. Just as a soap bubble is most beautiful when it is at its fullest and most vibrant, our lives are most meaningful when we are fully engaged in the present moment, appreciating the world around us and living our lives to the fullest.

Lyrics transliterated in English - Hasti Apni Habab Ki Si Hai

For translation and Hindi lyrics see below

hastī apnī habāb kī sī hai 
ye numā.ish sarāb kī sī hai 

My existence is like a bubble
This exhibition is a mirage. 

nāzukī us ke lab kī kyā kahiye 
pañkhuḌī ik gulāb kī sī hai 

chashm-e-dil khol is bhī aalam par 
yaañ kī auqāt ḳhvāb kī sī hai 

baar baar us ke dar pe jaatā huuñ 
hālat ab iztirāb kī sī hai 

nuqta-e-ḳhāl se tirā abrū 
bait ik intiḳhāb kī sī hai 

maiñ jo bolā kahā ki ye āvāz 
usī ḳhāna-ḳharāb kī sī hai 

ātish-e-ġham meñ dil bhunā shāyad 
der se bū kabāb kī sī hai 

dekhiye abr kī tarah ab ke 
merī chashm-e-pur-āb kī sī hai 

'mīr' un nīm-bāz āñkhoñ meñ 
saarī mastī sharāb kī sī hai

Translation - 9/22/20

My existence is like a bubble
this exhibition is a mirage.

The softness of her lips
Is like the petals of a rose.

Open your eyes to this world,
It’s condition is like a dream

I went to my love’s door again and again,
I am restless now again.

From your mole to your eyebrows,
It seems like a selected couplet in poetry.

When I spoke then they said
This is the same voice of ruin

Perhaps heart was roasted in grief’s fire
For long it smells like a kabab

Look this time like the clouds,
my eyes are full of water

'Mir' those half open eyes have,
all the intoxication of wine

Translation 1/19/24

Is this a bubble or my life?
Is this show a mirage?

Are these rose petals
or your lips?

Walking to your door again and again
or am I just crazy now?

Is this the sound of a cursed hound
or just me speaking?

Are those half lid eyes, Mir,
or a 100 proof shot?

Another Take 1/19/24 

bubble life
a mirage show
my crazy walking
to your door again, again
and my cursed hound bark
to see your 100 proof eyes
and kiss your rose petal lips.

Translation by Raza Mir

Hasti Apni Hubaab Ki Si Hai
Ye numaaish saraab ki si hai

My Life, like a bubble, is transient
This show, like a mirage, evanescent

Naazuki us ke lab ki kya kahiye
Pankhudi ek gulaab ki si hai

Exquisite, those lips that lie in repose
Delicate as the petals of a rose

Baar baar us ke dar pe jaata hoon
Haalat ab iztiraab ki si hai

Again and again I go to that door
In a state of panic, need I say more?

Main jo bola kaha ke ye aawaaz
Usi khana-kharaab ki si hai

I spoke and everyone guessed that this sound
Belonged perhaps to that wretched, cursed hound

Mir, un neem-baaz aankhon mein
Saari masti sharaab ki si hai

Those half-lidded eyes of that love of mine
Mir, they bear all the headiness of wine

Source: The Taste of Words: An Introduction to Urdu Poetry. Edited and Translated by Raza Mir

Lyrics in Hindi

हस्ती अपनी हबाब की सी है 
ये नुमाइश सराब की सी है 

नाज़ुकी उस के लब की क्या कहिए 
पंखुड़ी इक गुलाब की सी है 

चश्म-ए-दिल खोल इस भी आलम पर 
याँ की औक़ात ख़्वाब की सी है 

बार बार उस के दर पे जाता हूँ 
हालत अब इज़्तिराब की सी है 

नुक़्ता-ए-ख़ाल से तिरा अबरू 
बैत इक इंतिख़ाब की सी है 

मैं जो बोला कहा कि ये आवाज़ 
उसी ख़ाना-ख़राब की सी है 

आतिश-ए-ग़म में दिल भुना शायद 
देर से बू कबाब की सी है 

देखिए अब्र की तरह अब के 
मेरी चश्म-ए-पुर-आब की सी है 

'मीर' उन नीम-बाज़ आँखों में 
सारी मस्ती शराब की सी है 

Gurbani on Life as a Bubble 

The bubble and dream related couplets remind me of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s shlokas:

Jio supnā ar pekẖnā aise jag kao jān.

In mai kacẖẖ sācẖo nahī Nānak bin bẖagvān. ||23||

Know this world is like a dream and a show. 

None of this is true, O Nanak, without God. ||23||

Jaise jal ṯe buḏbuḏā upjai binsai nīṯ.

Jag racẖnā ṯaise racẖī kaho Nānak sun mīṯ. ||25||

As the bubbles in the water well up and disappear again,

so is the universe created; says Nanak, listen, O my friend! ||25||

English Poetry Using the Bubble Metaphor

The metaphor of life being like a bubble is a common one in English literature as well and has been used in various poems throughout history. Here are a few examples:

"The Bubbles of the Foam" by Emily Bronte:

In this poem, Bronte compares life to the fleeting bubbles of foam on a river, emphasizing how quickly life passes and how easily it can be forgotten:

"Down the dimpled, dancing river,

With a rippling, shining motion,

With a whirlpool's leaping fury,

And a flashing, foam-born notion!

Life, like bubbles on the river,

Sparkling, changing, born and dying,

Lulled awhile from its wild motion,

Glitters, quivers, and goes flying."

"A Bubble" by Robert Frost:

In this short but powerful poem, Frost uses the metaphor of a bubble to represent the fragility and impermanence of life:

"A winter day

In a deep and dark December;

I am alone,

Gazing from my window to the streets


On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.

I am a bubble,

An iridescent bubble,

Caught in a frozen web

Between the sun and moon."

"Life's Bubble" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox:

Wilcox's poem uses the bubble metaphor to emphasize the importance of living life to the fullest, as the bubble can burst at any moment:

"Life is but a bubble,

Fraught with every hue,

Born to shine and sparkle,

For a moment's view.

Then it bursts forever,

Leaving but a drop,

Its unbounded brightness

Blighted in a stop."